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Contemporary Caveman

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A caveman in a modern-day setting. He's usally either an unfrozen Human Popsicle or someone who got here through Time Travel. If he's capable of speech, expect Hulk Speak; if not, grunting is the way to go. Occasionally, this is subverted by having the caveman speak in interesting prose, usually with an upper-class English accent.

If they are able to fit in, then it is Like a Duck Takes to Water (which was previously known as "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer", thanks to the SNL example below).

Note that the redirect title, "Freezetta Man", is a play on Frazetta Man, which is a certain type of caveman.


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  • The cavemen from the GEICO commercials, who are insulted by the company's slogan "So easy a caveman can do it", and more with the excuse that they did not know cavemen still existed. Which is a baldfaced lie, since the first ad had the caveman being offended actually the boom operator at the shoot. The ongoing commercials would present them as a fairly large and fully-assimilated minority group, making the choice of slogan shockingly racist. This would later spawn a very short-lived sitcom.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baki the Grappler has Pickle. For a caveman, he is pretty Bishounen, though. Not hairy at all, after stealing some clothes he can pass for a common human. An 8 feet tall common human with fangs and claw-like nails.

    Comic Books 
  • The title character from the Archie's Weird Mysteries special "The Archies in Jugman". He was unfrozen when a geothermal heating system was installed in Riverdale High School.
  • The DCU:
    • Anthro was frozen in a block of ice in Tales of the Unexpected, and thawed gradually. As it turns out, he speaks only French. (This is contradicted by Final Crisis, in which he becomes an old man and dies in his original time period. The Dr. Thirteen story in TotE is so meta, it's hard to imagine it as proper Canon.)
    • Another unfrozen caveman, Java, is the main Mook for Corrupt Corporate Executive Simon Stagg, a regular thorn in the side of Metamorpho.
    • The immortal Vandal Savage, much more sophisticated and urbane than anyone else on this page (he's become quite the gentleman and genius in his thousands of years), but still rather hairy and still might kill you with his bare hands... and then eat you.
    • Gnaark, introduced in a time travel story in Teen Titans #38, and later a member of Titans West.
    • In 1959, Bill Finger wrote "The Caveman from Krypton" in Worlds Finest (Vol. 1, #102) about a Kyptonian caveman who was frozen in molten lava(!) and was blasted to Earth when Krypton exploded. Initially brutal, he began to warm up to Superman and Batman but died in the end of the story.
    • One issue of The Sandman (1989) opens with an infodump of how few people living today have been alive since prehistory, then goes to a 15,000-year-old caveman living as a lawyer in New York. As he's reminiscing about a dream that he had of his childhood hunting mammoths, he is unceremoniously killed by a falling pallet of bricks.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: The Danish and Dutch Disney comics have Princess Oona, a recurring female caveman who was brought into the present by Donald and his nephews. She has super strength—which gets her into a lot of trouble, with people often blaming Donald for her actions.
  • In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #19, Indy encounters (and becomes an ally to) a tribe of modern cavemen living the Himalayas, where they worship a frozen dragon.
  • Ogú, a caveman (or "Golagola", which is how he and his people identify) who often accompanies the present-day boy Mampato in the latter's adventures through time and space. A variation, in that he still lives in his original time period, with Mampato coming to pick him up, and that he's happy to go with his best friend (especially since the adventures often involve fighting).
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The (primarily) Alpha Flight villain the Master of the World was a tribal hunter gatherer in prehistoric North America before being experimented on by the Plodex.
    • Taras Vol, a one-issue character from Cable, is an immortal caveman diner owner.
    • The miniseries Age of the Sentry has the character Harrison Oogar, the Caveman of Wall Street!
      Harrison: Hope you am follow my tip on blue chip shares!
  • Andromache of Scythia, a.k.a. "Andy," the main character of The Old Guard by Greg Rucka, admits to being roughly six thousand years old, placing her birth in the Neolithic era.

  • Rare female example: Tahra in Bikini Cavegirl is transported to the future by mistake.
  • The troglodytes from Bone Tomahawk are heavily implied to be a species of early hominids that somehow managed to survive into the 19th century. Everything about them is Nightmare Fuel: They are huge hulking men horribly mutated and inbred beyond comprehension who exhibit no fear or emotion while tanking through gunshots to the body, and their exceedingly primitive and evil "culture" is obsessed with dismemberment, cannibalism and Groin Attacks. They are based on Paiute legends about giant, cannibalistic cave-dwelling ogres who lived in the American Southwest and warred with the Paiute several times.
  • The earliest in film is probably from 1960's Dinosaurus!!.
  • The eponymous gigantic caveman from the B-Movie Eegah!. Unlike the others, he's extraordinarily long-lived and the Last of His Kind.
  • In Encino Man, a caveman is discovered frozen in a block of ice in Californian teenager Dave's backyard while he and a friend, Stoney, are digging a swimming pool. The heater thaws the ice while they're at school. Stoney and Dave find out that he's made a mess of the house, so they dress and clean him up. They bring him to school as a foreign exchange student (Linkavitch Chomofsky, aka Link), where he becomes popular. At the end of the movie, a cavewoman, Link's mate, is found taking a bath at Dave's house.
  • Charlie, of the unfrozen type, in the film Iceman. Unlike most examples here, the results are portrayed fairly realistically.
  • Subverted in Luggage Of The Gods!: A group of cavemen live in the mountainous area of South America, separate from our world around them. They find fallen airplane luggage and their economy capsizes.
  • Discussed and subverted in The Man from Earth, in which the main character is an immortal caveman who, having changed with the times, talks and acts like everyone else. He's actually only about 14,000 years old and from a nomad culture, so "caveman" is a bit of a stretch.
  • Another one is the Italian film "Mia moglie è una bestia" ("My Wife's a Beast"), where a guy finds a beautiful frozen cavewoman, and re-animates her, believing her to be one of the guests at the costume party he attended before.
  • Night at the Museum: The people and animals in the museum exhibits come alive every night, among them some Neanderthals.

  • R. A. Lafferty had the recurring character of Austro, a genius Australopithecus.
  • "Clubland Heroes" revolves around a group of pulp-adventure heroes that includes Lord Piltdown, a protohominid who was found frozen in a glacier as a child and raised as an English gentleman. His manners and dress are impeccable, and he's highly regarded as a cricketer. He never speaks, communicating by mime, although apparently he's written some good poetry.
  • Joseph, one of the immortal protagonists of The Company Novels started life as a caveman (in fact, his father was responsible for some of the famous cave paintings). Also, the Company has some immortal Neanderthals on staff who can't do public work because of their appearances.
  • One of the spin-off Doctor Who novels involves a time-misplaced Neanderthal. The Doctor and Rose abandon Jack Harkness with him in Essex to teach him how to live in the present while they go to have adventures in his time. He ends up marrying a girl who's considered ugly by human standards and living happily ever after.
  • Mark Canter's Ember For The Sun: A pregnant Neanderthal woman is unfrozen. Instead of thawing her, the scientist frees the embryo and implants it into a modern woman. In an interesting use of the trope, the surrogate mother then gives birth to Ember Ozette, a born and raised modern-day Neanderthal.
  • Another Edgar Rice Burroughs' example is The Eternal Lover (a.k.a. The Eternal Savage and Sweetheart Primeval). A cliff-dwelling warrior of 100,000 years ago, Nu, is magically transported to the present, falls in love with Victoria Custer of Beatrice, Nebraska, the reincarnation of his lost lover Nat-ul, and the two are transported back to the Stone Age.
  • In The Extraordinaires, a secret society of Neanderthals has survived since the supposed extinction of their race, and is planning to Make Wrong What Once Went Right and reclaim the Earth as theirs.
  • "The Gnarly Man" by L. Sprague de Camp is about a Neanderthal named Shining Hawk whose aging process was frozen when he was struck by lightning early in his life. He has survived by his wits on the periphery of human society since the extinction of his own kind, using a succession of false identities and getting by as a blacksmith or in menial professions like his present one; appearing as an 'ape man' in a traveling freak show. He has been a witness to much of history from the margins, making little personal impact on it. He's also frustrating to the scientists trying to get information from him, both because he's deliberately tried to be low-key and stay away from important/influential people (he mentions at one point the only King he ever even personally saw was Charlemagne, from a distance when he was addressing a crowd) and because every conversation about history goes like "Yeah, that was in the 13th century. No, wait, maybe it was the 11th. I remember all the bystanders had beards, so it wasn't the 12th..."
  • Alley Oop from The Goblin Reservation was brought to the future twenty years before the novel events. He's a bit slow in adapting to some cultural aspects, but is very intelligent. He is also prone to Tall Tales when it comes to his time.
  • In John Darnton's Neanderthal, there are two Asian Neanderthal tribes—a cannibalistic one and a peaceful one.
  • "The Resurrection of Jimber Jaw", a short story by Edgar Rice Burroughs, features an unfrozen caveman with politically incorrect views.
  • Steven Erikson's satirical novella Revolvo has a neanderthal running around in a contemporary Canadian city. His presence riffs on the (now proven) theory that early humans interbred with neanderthals leading to a certain amount of neanderthal DNA in some modern humans. In this particular individual, the buried DNA has come to the fore, causing him to think and behave like a neanderthal. Since it's a satire, what he ends up doing is hunting and killing vegetarians and vegans because they smell like prey to him.
  • Though set on a future alien planet rather than contemporary Earth, Riverworld uses elements of this trope when a group of people from various time periods all awaken together. A single caveman is among them, and his behavior and interactions with the later-era humans is in accordance with this trope.
  • In one of the Scooby-Doo Mysteries novels, Scooby-Doo and the Caveman, a caveman steals a professional figure skater's trademark silver skate.
  • The title character of Stig Of The Dump by Clive King. Eight-year-old Barney befriends a caveman living in a dump, who does not speak English, and has created a den from dumped material. Stig draws on the den walls like a historical caveman. At a party, Barney decides to dress up as a caveman, and Stig joins him. Later in the story, Barney and his sister Lou visit Stig, and discover they have travelled back in time, and they meet Stig's tribe having a party.
  • Isaac Asimov's short story "The Ugly Little Boy" featured a caveman child who came to our time thanks to time travel experiments done by a research organization.

    Live Action Television  
  • Beforeigners has a large number of these, referred to as Prehistorians. The premise centers around time holes that bring people from the mesolithic, the Early Middle Ages, and the 19th century to the present day.
  • One of the episodes of El Chapulín Colorado deals with the discovery and education of an unfrozen caveman played by Ramón Valdez and named Chimpandolfo. At the end Chapulin does manage to turn Chimpandolfo into a perfectly civilized gentleman... at the price of him getting crazy and acting like a caveman instead.
  • Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor and Ace confront a talkative, very polite Neanderthal named Nimrod used as a butler in "Ghost Light".
  • Horrible Histories has fun with this: Stone Age Master Chef. The hosts are pleasantly surprised to find that Stone Age cooking was a lot more sophisticated than one might think.
  • The second half of the first (and only) season of the 1960s Fantastic Comedy It's About Time had the astronauts and cavemen return to the 1960s, with the cavemen having to adapt to modern life.
  • Malek in Land of the Lost (1974) was an intelligent, if brutal and domineering, Cro-Magnon who easily dominated the superstitious, frightened Sleestak. They considered him a god and paid him tribute. It isn't clear how he got to the Land or where he learned to speak perfect English, but he is certainly evolved. However, this Trope was somewhat subverted in his ignorance of modern technology like flashlights and antibiotics.
  • Curtis, a Cro-Magnon, from Phil of the Future. He is found in the Diffys' time machine and ends up living with them. Eventually, he learns how to speak better English.
  • Koda, the Blue Ranger from Power Rangers Dino Charge is a caveman from 100,000 years ago. Bonus points for accuracy in that anatomically he correctly looks identical to a modern human rather than looking like a stereotypical prehistoric man. After bonding with the blue energem, it granted him immortality to survive being flash frozen over the millennia until he's revived in the modern era. Still having some problems with modern technology and speech though.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch her Aunt Zelda found a two million year old fossil, brought it back to life, and evolved so he can speak. Which is okay with Sabrina. She can't remember what it feels like to be astonished.
  • Cirroc, a recurring character on Saturday Night Live. He was discovered and thawed in 1988 after being frozen in a glacial crevasse. He fits into society and speaks quite well, and uses his caveman background in a Simple Country Lawyer act.
  • The eponymous Stig Of The Dump is found in a dump. It's implied (but never stated) that there's some sort of Time Portal between Barney's time period and Stig's (at one point Barney travels back to the paleolithic and helps Stig's tribe build a megalith).
  • Played with in Ghosts (UK) with Robin, a prehistoric man living in the modern day who, developmental communication issues aside, has adjusted pretty well to modern life and who has surprising reserves of sophistication, wisdom and modern intelligence. The twist being that he's technically the ghost of a man who died in prehistoric times but who has haunted the same spot since then.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The eponymous caveman Alley Oop eventually has an arc in which he visits different time periods with a time machine. He gets to go to the moon and drive an electric racecar.
  • A The Far Side cartoon had a caveman unfrozen from a glacier signing copies of his autobiography "It Was Very Cold And I Couldn't Move" in a modern bookstore.
  • The July 29, 2018 Garfield strip has Garfield encounter a thawed-out caveman, who isn't too pleased when Garfield shows him Jon Arbuckle as an example of modern man.
    Caveman: Well, back to the glacier.
    Garfield: Have a nice nap.
  • Back in the nineties, Prince Valiant met the last of the Neanderthals, living alone in the wilderness, the rest of his clan gone. Within the last few years, he discovered a Lost Land that had many more, and three of them accompanied him back to Camelot.
  • Ruben Bolling's comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug has a recurring character australopithecine in modern times - he assimilates well into society but occasionally lapses into feral behavior.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Bárbaro Cavernario, mostly seen in CMLL. Besides antiquated dress and an affinity for dirt/face paint, he's pretty well spoken.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the sample characters for GURPS Illuminati University is Og, a caveman with an eidetic memory. He came forward in time with a CTHULHU student who was fleeing a wooly mammoth, and arranged to stay by volunteering as a research subject in exchange for tuition, room and board.

    Video Games 
  • Bloons Tower Defense 6 has the Cave Monkey, a Secret Character on the map "Frozen Over". It can be seen as a Human Popsicle beneath the surface of the frozen lake, and is freed when a modern-looking Mortar Tower fires on the spot where it is trapped, at which point it joins the war against the Bloons.
  • EarthBound (1994) has the Cave Boy enemy, which, amusingly, is encountered just outside the prodigious Dr. Andonuts' Laboratory. One later sells goods inside the laboratory.
  • Captain Commando, a video game set in the future, have a segment in the second stage where you enter a cave and encounter a tribe of hostile, ancient cavemen dressed in furs (labelled in-game as "Samson" and "Organo") living inside.
  • The protagonist of Hatoful Boyfriend is a hunter-gatherer who lives in a cave, yet otherwise goes through all the typical romantic high-school situations. She even has a cell phone! It turns out all surviving humans live in caves in the wilderness.
  • In the second Zoo Tycoon game's expansion pack Extinct Animals, you can place glaciers in exhibits to make certain animals (namely Ice Age mammals such as mastodons and saber-toothed cats) feel more comfortable in the modern period. Occasionally, this glacier will contain a frozen caveman who will gradually thaw out and then wander around the zoo as if he were any other human guest. All the cavemen have Flintstones-style names.

    Web Animation 

  • The eponymous Dawn of Time initially seems to be a cavegirl in a primitive world, but it later turns out that most of her contemporaries live in more civilized surroundings, even though it's still millions of years in our past. More a case of her being Raised by Wolves (although actual wolves apparently haven't evolved yet), or at least a Neanderthal.

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: In "Jurassic Bark", Lucky finds a frozen cave pup under DeVil manor, and accidentally thaws him out.
  • An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured "Oog", a caveman who ended up in modern times thanks to Frylock's time-travelling supercomputer. In spite of getting longevity and a massive boost in intelligence in the bargain ("Now me stopping to go behind bush to relieve myself, instead of just going while I walk!"), he was still a character on Aqua Teen, and it showed; when he was feeling the slightest bit unstimulated, he'd scream "OOG BORED!" and try to rip his own head off.
  • Krull the Eternal in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, who combines elements of Vandal Savage and Shazam!'s King Kull, is a prehistoric man who became immortal.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Cold Turkey" has Mr. Bumpy and Squishington deal with a frozen turkey coming to life after they mistakenly thaw it out. Squishy actually compares the situation to a movie he once saw that involved a caveman coming to life after being frozen for a gazillion years.
  • The Camp Lazlo episode "Cave Chatter" had Lazlo, Clam, and Raj thaw out a frozen caveman that they conclude was the first Bean Scout, naming him Beastly Bumblepuss.
  • Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels is an original take on this, featuring the titular frozen caveman thawing out in an era of less primitive cavemen as well as modern society.
  • Colonel Bleeps helper Scratch is one.
  • The C.O.P.S. (1988) episode "The Case of the Cool Caveman" featured a caveman thawing out and befriending Longarm's son.
  • Cro plays with the trope with an unfrozen talking mammoth.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "Old Flame", Dexter used his time machine to bring a caveman, who recently discovered fire, to the present time, only to act like his sister and wreck his lab.
  • Bubba Duck from DuckTales (1987), a boy Neanderthal duck brought to the present day in a time machine.
  • Bubba also appears in one episode of DuckTales (2017) as a young cave-duck who ends up in the modern era via a Timephoon (a hurricane combined with the temporal anomalies caused by Louie's time travel). He proves rather adaptable to the modern era, but ultimately returns to his native time, where it's revealed he's the first McDuck.
  • Cave Guy on Freakazoid!. Subverted in that he's a giant, loincloth-wearing, club-dragging caveman who speaks in a haughty accent, subscribes to The New Yorker and owns a diversified stock portfolio.
  • The Cryogenic Support Group in Futurama includes a caveman who had been frozen in a glacier.
    Caveman: As a caveman frozen in a glacier, I face different challenges. [crying] The hardest thing was seeing my wife on display in the British Museum.
    • A Comedy Central episode had Fry end up in a valley underneath a glacier that was populated by surviving Neanderthals (and other Ice Age animals).
  • The Garfield Show episode "Iceman" had a frozen caveman thaw out and fall in love with an unattractive woman serving ice cream.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy finds and unfreezes Fred Flintstone.
  • Java, from Martin Mystery, is the 200,000 year-old caveman, a friend and aide-de-camp to Martin and Diana, who works at Torrington as a cook and a janitor. He assists them in their investigations, serving as the team's tracker. His brute strength proves useful when battling monstrous foes or breaking through barriers.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Boyfriend From 27000 BC", the two boys find a frozen caveman and unfreeze him.
  • Rocky Kwaterner: Rocky is a cro-magnon boy who was frozen 35000 years ago and found in the 21th century. He is adopted in the family of the archeologist who found him, and has to learn to adapt to his new surroundings.
  • In an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright," a caveman was thawed from a block of ice and went around causing mayhem.
  • Parodied in a South Park episode from 1999, where they thaw out a man who had been frozen since 1996 and treat him as they would a prehistoric caveman.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Cave Dwelling Sponge" had SpongeBob accidentally thaw out a frozen cave-sponge by pouring hot chocolate on his icy tomb.
  • Gnarrk from Teen Titans, a caveman living in a Lost World with his friend Kole.
  • An episode of The Tick shows time-travellers from the future building a resort in the prehistoric past, exploiting the australopithecines as help - one of whom gets transported to Arthur's apartment, causing the Tick to shout "Arthur! MONKEY OUT OF NOWHERE!!!"
  • The Transformers: Rescue Bots episode "Did You See What I Thaw?" had the Rescue Bots and the Burns family find a frozen caveman with an Energon shard, whom they befriend and dub "Ira".
  • The Slag Brothers from Wacky Races, a pair of cave-men who raced in a car made out of stone.

    Real Life  

  • There are still a number of uncontacted tribes located throughout the world that have been isolated since before written history, and thus retain much of the same practices they had many thousands of years ago. For example, the Sentinelese are estimated to have lived on their island for the past 60,000 years and still live as hunter-gatherers. They attack anyone who lands on the islands from outside, so little more has been learned about them. Additionally, the Indian government prohibits visitors, not only for their protection but also the Sentinelese's, so they aren't harmed or have their resources exploited. The tribe made international headlines when John Allen Chau, an American Christian missionary, violated the laws against visiting the Sentinelese in order to proselytize to them, only to get killed.
  • It's not exactly 'contemporary', but there is a theory that the legends of ogres, trolls and such stem from encounters with small groups of cavemen that survived into historic times. However, thus far there's no evidence for this survival past their accepted extinction period.
  • There are folk tales of surviving cavemen in the Caspian region. Not a lot of evidence for it, though.
  • Likewise, cryptid enthusiasts will usually categorize Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti as protohumans who have survived to modern times.

Alternative Title(s): Freezetta Man


Cro-Magnon Martin

Martin wakes up as a prehistoric man.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / ContemporaryCaveman

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